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Globe Effecting Local State Elections in India: How did BJP Win in Some States and Lost in Others?
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Four Indian states viz. Uttar Pradesh, Utarakhanda, Punjab, Goa and Manipur went for the elections 2017. Although the BJP won lesser seats than Congress in the latter three states and won only in the former two, the scale of victory that has astounded many has been said to be a game changer in Indian politics. This is because, those victories disseminated BJP's opponents, including the historic national party- the Congress- from UP and Uttarakhand states. In addition, this canvassing saw development as the main theme in the campaign, rather than the usual caste and faith issues. Also, the increased number of members in the state assembly is going to help the BJP in increasing its share of members in the upper house of the parliament. While this will free the ruling party from the burden of aligning with the corrupt government of Tamil Nadu, it will also free itself from the burden gulping up the humiliating verbal abuses from the Bengal lady. If nothing else, this election did say good bye to the traditional vote banks. Who gets the biggest credit for this victory? After the victory, the BJP president, Amit Shah, gave the main credit to the Indian PM Mr Modi and the BJP party workers. While I would agree with the later I would not agree with the former being the main reason - especially if considered alone. The simple reason for this is that if Modi was the main reason, the 'Modi magic' would have worked in the other states in which the BJP lost, too. Bihar even saw his mightiest effort gone into the dust bin. The Reasons for victory: 1. The Necessity: Yes BJP had the majority in the lower house of the parliament that brought about a stable government. It, however, lacked the numbers in the upper house. This made it difficult for the party to pass laws that it needed to modernise India. It thus had to make friendship with the with other parties. In addition, though Mumbai and Assam gave it a face saver, its virtual wipe-out in Delhi and Bihar, despite efforts, almost made it a laughing stock. It, therefore, was compelled not to take any chances this time. 2. The state: Being the most important state that even constituted, 'The party that wins UP rules India', its effort in UP did not start just few months before the elections - like the AAP in Delhi. It started 2 years ago. In addition, the general election 2019 wasn't too far. UP mattered a lot and couldn't be taken for granted. 3. Strategy: They had a multi-pronged attack on the voters using both the micro and macro efforts: A Micro effort: 1. Booth level committees: The canvassing in UP wasn't haphazard, or limited to speeches by its leaders alone. Instead, even if not in all, it did try to make working committee units in relation to many polling booths. These units were constantly monitored. A. Better RSS/BJP coordination: With the RSS cadres being on the ground since a long time, and them and the BJP cadres bringing about a very good relationship unlike in Bihar, campaigning was much smoother on the ground. A. Division of the Muslim vote bank: All the so called secular parties (Congress, BSP and SP) have always used Muslims as a vote bank. Being projected by its enemies as an anti-Muslim party despite its slogan of development of all, BJP saw little chance on that block vote. As if tracing the Brits It, therefore, followed the divide and rule policy. It sought the division between the Shias and the Sunnis. While this pulled the 'minority' Shias away, strategic support for Muslim women in their fight against triple talaq, especially when voting would demand a free uninfluenced secret ballot, it brought in Muslim women too. And when governments pro-poor efforts were put into the ears of the Sunni men, and 'development of all' was amplified, even some of Sunnis broke ties with tradition and merged into the BJP line. Suddenly the three secular parties shared the remaining Sunnis alone. So much so that, almost as a revolution BJP won even in the Muslim majority areas!! B. Unison of the Hindu vote: Seeing so much of use and influence of the Muslim vote bank, BJP always dreamt of a reciprocal Hindu block vote. Yes, Ram temple issue was used during the Kalyan Singh era. Now it was seen as being used only during elections time by the BJP. It, therefore, was obsolete, and not even palatable to the election officials.
Amit Shah
RSS cadres
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